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Microplate Readers

Microplate readers are widely used in research, drug discovery, bioassay validation, QC, and manufacturing processes for the detection of biological, chemical, or physical processes in samples contained in microtiter plates.

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Microplate readers are widely used in research, drug discovery, bioassay validation, QC, and manufacturing processes for the detection of biological, chemical, or physical processes in samples contained in microtiter plates.

Top 8 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Microplate Reader

1. How many read modes are offered? Multiple read modes offer greater flexibility and value than single read modes for those working with, or considering the addition of, various assay platforms.

2. What kind of detection technology is used? Monochromatorbased detection offers flexibility, convenience and spectral scanning; while filter-based detection is characterized by precise sensitivity and may often switch rapidly between distinct wavelengths for kinetic assays. Hybrid detection systems combine both technologies in one compact unit for the utmost in flexibility and sensitivity.

3. Is it upgradeable? If so, can the upgrade be installed on-site, or must it be shipped back to the factory? On-site installations reduce overall downtime, and often the technician is available to answer questions or conduct training.

4. Is the reader automatable? Manual plate handling slows productivity as throughput increases. Automating the process with a compatible microplate stacker increases throughput with walk-away operation.

5. Ask about the software—is it integrated and user-friendly? Does it allow for pre-programmed and custom protocols? What kind of analysis is offered? How is data exported?

6. Is on-site training available? Is there a fee? On-site training provides an opportunity for all staff to learn about the reader, reducing the number of subsequent training needed.

7. What options are available? Options such as gas control, barcode scanning, shaking, and injecting increase assay flexibility for those that need these features, and as options, do not add additional unnecessary expense for those that do not need them.

8. What assay validation data is available for the reader? Assay validation data specific for the reader provides proof that the reader performs as indicated.

The Microplate Reader detection modes our readers are currently using, according to our latest survey data:

Absorbance 90%
AlphaScreen 77%
Fluorescence polarization 74%
Time-resolved fluorescence (TRF) 62%
Time-resolved fluorescence energy transfer (TR-FRET) 83%
Luminescence reader 73%
Multi-mode reader 75%
Microplate spectrophotometer 63%

Microplate Reader components our respondents are using in their labs:

Centrifugation 36%
Microplate washers 36%
Microplate sealers 18%
Barcode scanner 13%
Additional stacker cassettes 11%
Microplate robotics 11%
Bulk dispensing 10%
Microplate handlers 8%
Labeling and sealing 7%
Microplate stackers 6%
High-speed robot 5%
De-lidding stacker cassettes 4%

Top ten most important features/ factors in the decision-making process to buy a Microplate Reader:

Software for data collection/analysis 94%
Sensitivity 91%
Ease-of-use 89%
Product performance for intended application 87%
Low maintenance/operating costs 85%
Warranty 85%
Service and support 84%
Price 79%
Resolution 79%
Add-on functionality and upgrade capability 75%

Recently Released Microplate Readers

Synergy™ Neo
• An HTS multi-mode microplate reader designed specifically for today’s screening and core laboratories
• Includes multiple parallel detectors for ultrafast measurements and laser-based excitation
• Also features super-fast plate stacker and high sensitivity on low volume assays
• Boasts a unique patent pending hybrid optical design • Incorporates a dedicated filter-based system


SPECTROstar Nano
• Capable of performing assays quickly and easily in low-volumes, microplates, and via the built-in cuvette port
• Instantly captures a full UV-Visible spectrum (220 to 1000 nm) in less than 1 sec/well and it measures sample volumes down to 2 μL
• Features simple push button operation and the capacity to design individual assay protocols


SpectraMax Paradigm
• Now includes TUNE detection cartridge technology
• Included software reduces the assay set up time by more than 50%
• Allows users to read what they want, when they want
• Provides on-the-fly detection for reduced read times
• Features a plate format of up to 1536-wells and dual PMTs
• A good fit for high sensitivity and throughput demands

Molecular Devices

• Employs the new patent pending optical concept ALL-4-ONE, for the first time enabling luminescence, fluorescence and absorbance measurements
• Also capable of reading FRET, BRET and BRET²
• In comparison to its predecessor the optics have been further improved and an improvement in detection limits in fluorescence has been achieved

Berthold Technologies

Microplate Reader Manufacturers

Applied Biosystems
Beckman Coulter
Berthold Technologies
Douglas Scientific
Molecular Devices
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Turner Biosystems